Shoulder Blade Pain: Causes and Treatment

Let’s talk about shoulder blades!

Have you ever given a thought to those pieces of bone on your back, just below your shoulders? Probably only when they’re hurting; and what does it mean when they are? Read on…

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What are Shoulder Blades?

Shoulder blade or scapula, is a triangular shaped bone located in your upper back, behind each of your shoulders, which connects the upper arm bone (humerus) with the collar bone (clavicle).

Pain in this area is not easy to figure out, since it could indicate something serious, like a heart attack, or something temporary and mild, like having slept in an awkward position. So here’s everything you need to know about it…

Causes of Shoulder Blade Pain

Poor posture or an awkward sleeping position

Sleeping in an uncomfortable position or sitting with bad posture for prolonged periods of time can cause pain in the shoulder blade area, but most of this pain is muscular and doesn’t mean there is an injury, so it can be easily treated via physical therapy and practicing better posture.

Direct injury to the scapula bone

Trauma, falls or taking a hard blow can injure the scapula. It can be bruised or even fractured. Scapula fractures can be type I, II, or III, depending on their severity and bone displacement, and might need surgery to be reset when they are severe, though most don’t.

When surgery is not needed, treatment is usually pain medication, temporary immobilization and physical therapy. These fractures are usually common in car accidents, and can be accompanied by chest trauma and other fractures, but they’re not among the most common fractures in the country.

Mild or severe shoulder or rotator cuff injury

The shoulder has an amazingly wide range of motion, which means it needs a lot of soft tissue and bone support in order to work properly. Since it has so many connections, it can easily get injured or swollen with bad movements or by lifting too much weight. These injuries cause shoulder blade pain and can make it more sensitive to touch.

Joint or bone conditions

Conditions that cause pain and affect the bones and joints, could also cause shoulder blade pain. These conditions are: arthritis (more specifically ankylosing spondylitis), osteoporosis, scoliosis, spinal stenosis, fibromyalgia and frozen shoulder. They cause pain in different bones and joints and can affect the scapula, but their treatment depends on the condition, though applying heat or cold packs, and being careful with movement, usually helps.

Pain irradiated from an organ in distress – referred pain

Since the lungs and heart are so close to the scapula, they can cause pain in its general area when they are malfunctioning. However, other organs and conditions can cause shoulder blade pain, such as back problems, a slipped disk, gallbladder disease, liver problems, peptic ulcers, pancreatitis, or abdominal surgery.

The body is connected, so different conditions can cause pain in seemingly unrelated areas, which might be confusing. In this case, the original condition needs to be treated before the referred pain can go away. However, pain medication can sometimes help while the treatment is completed, but it’s healthier to stick to natural solutions, like heat packs, or CBD oil.

Heart Issues

Particularly in women, heart issues can cause sharp shoulder blade pain. The conditions that specifically cause this are: heart attack, a tear in the aorta, and inflammation of the lining of the heart, which is why it’s important to pay attention to other alarming symptoms that occur at the same time.

Lung issues

The lung issues that are known to cause shoulder blade pain are lung cancer, blood clots, or a collapsed lung. These conditions may also cause difficulty breathing, fainting, or other complications.

Cancer

Lung cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer can cause pain in the shoulder blades. Though extremely rare, heart cancer also causes feelings of pain and tightness in the chest and possibly in the back.

Nerve damage or neuropathy

Nerve damage in the area, or Brachial Plexus Neuropathy can also cause pain in the area where the shoulder blades are and the shoulders. A pinched nerve in the shoulder can cause pain as well.

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Positioning of the Pain

Depending on the disease and the organ, pain can present in different sides of the body, or can be accompanied by other symptoms.

Pain behind left shoulder blade – Left shoulder blade pain in women

Heart attack mostly causes pain in the left shoulder blade, and, for some reason, women are more likely to experience this symptom than men are. However, strain or trauma to the left arm, shoulder, or back can also cause this particular pain.

Pain in upper back between shoulder blades

When the pain is located between the shoulder blades, the cause could be a little different. It could be related to acid reflux, which affects the esophagus and could cause referred pain towards the middle of the upper back. However, pain between shoulder blades in women is also a common occurrence in heart attacks, so don’t ignore it, just pay attention to the way it presents.

Scoliosis, vertebral compression fractures , or epidural anesthesia, can also cause interscapular pain. But, when it comes to epidural anesthesia, the pain should go away as the anesthetic wears off.

Pain behind right shoulder blade

Gallbladder disease generally causes pain in the right shoulder blade, since it is located on the right side of the torso. However, strain or trauma to the right arm, shoulder or back can also cause this pain.

What causes knots under shoulder blade?

Knotting can be painful and annoying. Though it is usually not very serious. These muscle spasms are caused by prolonged bad posture or position, by tension in the neck and shoulders, or by muscle strain and overuse.

It can happen mostly on the dominant side for each person, since it’s the one we put more strain on, but can also happen on both sides.  

Treatment

The appropriate treatment for shoulder blade pain depends on its cause.

For overuse, strain, bruising, or bad posture, the recommended treatments involve rest, hot/cold compresses, painkillers (if absolutely necessary), stretching, massages, physical therapy and light movement exercises.

For cancer and other conditions that cause pain to irradiate to the shoulder blades, the necessary treatment is the designated one for that particular condition (like chemotherapy for cancer, or medication for heart issues). 

When it comes to knotting and tension, massages and hot compresses are the best options, since massages can help undo the spasms and heat relaxes the tense muscles.

People have also reported feeling some relief while using CBD supplements. This is probably due to the component’s antispasmodic properties as well as mild pain relieving effects.

When should I see a doctor for shoulder blade pain?

Though muscle strain or mild pain caused by poor posture is not really a reason to go to urgent care or schedule a doctor’s appointment, when it has been bothering you for more than 3 months, then a visit to an orthopedist, physiotherapist or chiropractor might be a good idea.

You should see a doctor immediately when the pain is so intense that you are unable to move, or if it’s accompanied by:

  • Sharp chest pain
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Tachicardia
  • Slurred speech
  • Dizziness
  • Vision problems
  • Any other alarming symptoms that significantly affect your ability to function as usual

Prevention and Tips

  • Be aware of your posture and correct it if necessary
  • Don’t lift items that are too heavy, and be careful when pulling or lifting any weight (like when carrying children or heavy suitcases).
  • If you spend a lot of time sitting behind a desk, get up and stretch, walk around and check your posture often.
  • Cut down on sugar and inflammatory foods, which can cause joint pain and muscle weakness. Some inflammatory foods, though not all of them, are: processed meats, sugar, fried foods, refined wheat (white bread, white pasta) and gluten.

I hope this was informative and helpful! Sometimes shoulder and shoulder blade injuries can feel like they will never heal, but you might be able to manage them and improve mobility and pain by changing your lifestyle, being very careful and conscious with your movements, and, believe me, physical therapy works wonders.

I was injured after carrying a heavy suitcase during a three week trip, and for months there were tight knots under my shoulder blades and I couldn’t lift my left arm or walk for too long without feeling excruciating pain on my left shoulder blade and neck.

After months of pain, I finally saw an orthopedist, who sent me to a physical therapist. After three months of careful therapy and applying hot packs on my back, I was moving my arm again, not being woken up by pain, and a lot less annoyed.

Of course, my soft tissue is still injured and will never heal, which is why I need to be careful about a few things, like about sleeping on my left side for too long, lifting my arm too high without being careful, or lifting things that are too heavy… But it no longer feels like it did before, which was as if I would never use my left arm for much again.

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CBD vs Opioids: The Pain Relief Showdown!

Opioid painkillers have been a part of medical practice for a very long time. They are used for a variety of injuries and conditions that cause pain since they have strong, numbing effects, making them very useful in certain situations.

However, their use has become indiscriminate and unnecessary in a lot of cases, and illicit production and sales have risen significantly, which has caused an epidemic of opioid addiction and several cases of overdose which result in death.

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What are opioid painkillers?

Opioids, or narcotics, are a type of drug that produces euphoria, drowsiness, confusion, slow breathing and pain relief. And, because they have a high potential for abuse, they are controlled substances.

They are made from components found in the opium poppy plant, or developed in labs, like fentanyl, which is a synthetic opioid.  

For decades, doctors have prescribed opioids like oxycodone or morphine to patients who suffer from strong chronic or acute pain for different reasons: from injuries, to chronic illnesses.

Though these opioids initially do their job and reduce or eliminate pain, they have terrible effects when they are taken long term, as they mostly are nowadays. They create strong dependence, making it very difficult, or even impossible for the patients to stop taking them. But the most serious issue with these painkillers is that they cause an astounding amount of deaths in the United States, and the rest of the world, due to overdose.

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CBD and Opioids

Lately, CBD has proven to be a potential substitute for painkillers as well as helpful in opioid addiction treatments, since it provides pain relief, lifts the mood and lowers anxiety, which is so prevalent in withdrawal syndrome.

Prescription Opioids vs Illegal Opioids

There really is not much difference between opioids prescribed by a doctor and the illegal ones we often hear about in the news. What sets them apart is that legal ones are prescribed and controlled, while illegal ones are sold in the illegal market and completely uncontrolled, which does make it easier for people to overdose due to the uncertainty of what exactly is in them and how strong it is.

The first opium derivative to become popularized for pain management was morphine, which is used to treat moderate to severe chronic pain. Morphine is an isolated compound found in opium poppy which is 10 times stronger than processed opium poppy on its own, which was used for pain relief in the past. And, though it was initially foreseen to have several medicinal benefits, it soon proved to be extremely addictive and dangerous if taken regularly.

Morphine isn’t the only commonly prescribed opioid. We might also know heroin, for example, as a well known narcotic that is illegally sold. However, it is commonly prescribed by doctors for pain management, under the name of diamorphine. Though the name is different, it is exactly the same chemical, and it has the same effects. So, just like a heroin overdose can cause death, so can a diamorphine overdose in a patient who has been prescribed the medication.  

Some of the most common prescription opioids are:

  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl
  • Hydrocodone
  • Methadone
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone
  • Vicodin  

These are all controlled substances, and are very commonly used and abused by patients or by those who have a narcotic addiction. They might work well for temporary pain relief when a person has been severely injured or has had surgery, but are not recommended for long term use, since they will inevitably cause dependence and, subsequently, are very likely to be abused; or, in the best of cases, they will cause very uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

It is estimated that, in 2017, more than 72.000 people died of opioid overdose in the united states. A shocking number, isn’t it? And Fentanyl, which is a synthetic opioid that is 100 times more potent than morphine, and 50 times more potent than heroin, seems to be responsible for the steady rise in this number. And, just like most opioids, it is marketed both illegally and under medical prescription.

Those at Risk…

In this opioid epidemic, the illegal buyers are not the only ones at risk. Even for patients to whom they have been prescribed, opioid painkillers are dangerous. If a person is feeling pain and, out of desperation, takes more than the prescribed amount, an overdose is highly probable.

The drowsiness caused by them can affect some people more than others. So even if some are perfectly able to go about their day after taking morphine, some might be at risk of fainting, falling over, or tripping. They can be seriously injured or even die for reasons other than overdose.

Because most of these are readily prescribed by doctors, addicts have taken to faking injury and severe pain in order to receive opioids in urgent care or the E.R. And, since it’s not necessarily easy to tell who’s faking and who’s not, many get away with it, which calls us to look into other non opioid pain relief for doctors to use in their practice in order to reduce the likelihood of this happening.  

CBD vs Opioids: What are the Effects?

Though they both provide pain relief, CBD and opioids work in completely different ways.

First of all, opioid painkillers are highly processed or synthetic, which means that they are no longer the poppy plant they once were; they are not at all natural, which causes them to have stronger, more dangerous effects than CBD, which is not nearly as processed and is completely natural.

Some of the differences in effects are:

Opioids

  • Cause drowsiness and confusion
  • Slowed breathing and hypoxia (not enough oxygen reaching the brain)
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Euphoria
  • Death (caused by overdose)
  • Tolerance, which causes the person to need higher doses or a stronger opioid

CBD

  • Doesn’t cause drowsiness or confusion; it has even been shown to improve concentration and alertness during the day
  • Doesn’t affect oxygenation, but might reduce blood pressure during stressful events
  • Is often used to reduce nausea
  • Doesn’t cause constipation, but in extremely high doses, it might cause diarrhea in some people
  • Improves mood, but doesn’t produce euphoria
  • Has never been observed to cause death, even in extremely high doses
  • Hasn’t been shown to produce tolerance

It is important to point out that this list of effects is for CBD on its own, it doesn’t take into account the effects that supplements that include THC might have.

Opioids, regardless of them being illegally taken or prescribed, shouldn’t be taken by pregnant women, since they could cause miscarriage, low birth weight, and even cause the baby to develop dependence and withdrawal symptoms after birth.

Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome

Sometimes, people who use marijuana consistently (daily) in high doses, begin experiencing something called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, which causes vomiting and severe stomach cramping, which are only relieved by hot baths. In these cases, the only solution is to stop consuming marijuana.

This syndrome is believed to be caused only by THC, since it hasn’t been observed to occur in people who use high doses of CBD on a daily basis (like children and adults who suffer from epilepsy), only by frequent high THC marijuana consumption.

Is CBD addictive?

This is an interesting question. CBD on its own has not shown any potential for dependence. However, when it comes to THC, or marijuana, about 9% of people who use it regularly develop something called “marijuana use disorder”, which is not necessarily an addiction, but a form of dependence.

Since THC produces psychoactive effects, it is likely the reason marijuana causes dependence, particularly if the habit of consumption begins before the age of 21, when the brain is more susceptible to alterations. However, this dependence and its withdrawal symptoms are usually very mild and go away fast, compared to those of strong opioids like morphine, oxycodone, and others.

CBD derivatives have not been shown to cause dependence, but since they have mood lifting effects, people might report not feeling as uplifted when not using them. In this sense, CBD can be compared to antidepressants: used on their own, they might keep you afloat, but stopping them would cause you to sink back into depression. However, if they are taken along with a disciplined therapeutic and growth process, there might come a time when you can decide, along with your doctor, to stop taking them without issues.

Facts!

Is cannabis an opioid?

No! Cannabis is not an opioid. Opioids are drugs (legal or illegal) derived from the opium poppy plant, or made in a lab to enhance some of its properties (like fentanyl). Cannabis is a different plant entirely.

Are there CBD withdrawal symptoms?

CBD has not been observed to produce withdrawal symptoms when suspended, but changes in dosage might cause different effects, and some people might miss the benefits and take a little while to adapt to not taking it.

CBD helps with withdrawal symptoms…

When you’re wondering how to get off opioids, it is important to work with a healthcare professional. Effects can be varied and hard to deal with, so you’ll need support, and your doctor might recognize CBD as a valid option to facilitate the process. It all depends on the type of opioid you’ve developed dependence to, the dosage you’re currently taking, and the way your body reacts to it. It’s different for everyone.

However, CBD has shown to be helpful for opioid withdrawal in most cases, since it reduces anxiety, improves mood, enhances sleep, and reduces pain, which are all issues that are encountered during the process.

CBD vs Opioids What’s the best option?

Though many would prefer certain opioids, like morphine, since they lack the social stigma that cannabis comes tied to, the truth is that:

  • CBD is not addictive, while opioids are
  • You cannot die of CBD overdose, but you can easily die of opioid overdose
  • CBD hasn’t been shown to produce withdrawal symptoms, while opioids produce plenty, which disable the person suffering from them
  • CBD can be used long term without causing the patient to develop resistance to its effects, while opioids do, and eventually results in the need for a stronger version

Clearly, CBD is the least harmful option of the two. And, though it might not have the numbing effects that opioids are capable of producing, if CBD turned into a routine, along with other small life changes, like exercise, meditation and healthy eating, the effects are likely going to be even better and less risky than those of opioids, at least when it comes to long term use.

When it comes to short term use, like after an accident, or surgery, opioids do have their benefits and, as long as they are carefully administered can be a good option, but should not become a habit, or they will surely generate life threatening addiction.

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Endocannabinoid Deficiency Fibromyalgia: Is CBD the Answer?

Fibromyalgia has plagued the lives of many, both physically and emotionally. It causes disability and depression, making people feel isolated and unproductive. However, its cause, just like that of many other conditions, remains a mystery to sufferers and doctors… Could science be close to figuring it out?

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What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a mysterious illness that causes sufferers to feel pain in their body for no apparent reason. It is more prevalent in women, and it is currently the most common rheumatology diagnosis in the United States.

Often, people who suffer from it are dismissed as being over dramatic, or some claim their pain to be psychosomatic, which is why the diagnosis is fairly new, compared to other conditions.

However, in recent years, studies have shown that fibromyalgia is, in fact, a very real medical condition that not only causes unnecessary pain signals to be sent to the brain, but also alters the pain threshold, making people a lot more sensitive to these signals, which is referred to as  hyperalgesia.

In sufferers, fibromyalgia causes stress, anxiety, feelings of guilt, isolation, and even disability. It is part of a group of conditions referred to as subjective pain syndromes, which are difficult to identify, since there are no objective, observable signs and they are often resistant to medical treatment. It is characterized by painful trigger points, mostly in the shoulders and neck, that limit physical activity and generate frustration.

It is associated closely with depression and anxiety, but it isn’t clear if one causes the other or if they coexist because they have the same origin.

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Endocannabinoid Deficiency?

In our bodies, the endocannabinoid system, or ECS, has two basic tasks:

  1. Balance feelings of well-being
  2. Stimulating the body to heal from injury or illness

This system reacts to endocannabinoids (cannabinoids that are naturally produced by our bodies), which interact with it and keep it running as it should.

Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency syndrome, CECD, happens when the concentration of these endocannabinoids, called anandamide and 2-AG, are lower than normal. This is a very new discovery, the initial theory having been proposed in 2001, and subsequent studies have backed it up.

Slowly, scientists and doctors are catching on to how this affects us, and have been shocked to discover that the effects are a lot broader and more significant than previously thought.

The origin of the theory came from the fact that many brain disorders are related to neurotransmitter deficiencies, so it was concluded that, considering its main function, chronic endocannabinoid deficiency should result in alterations in the sensations of pain, system imbalance and inflammation, since the endocannabinoid system plays an important role in those.

Conditions whose cause has been unknown for centuries now have a little ray of sunshine. Low levels of anandamide have been reported in people suffering from a number of illnesses whose cause was eluding the medical community.

If endocannabinoid deficiency proves to be the cause, these illnesses will now have better, more effective treatments that will make them more manageable, and they will be less likely to cause disability and depression.

Endocannabinoid Deficiency Fibromyalgia, Migraine, PTSD and IBS

Some of the conditions that have been observed to concur with clinical endocannabinoid deficiency are: fibromyalgia, migraines, PTSD and IBS, among others.

These three conditions have certain common characteristics:

  • Heightened sensitivity to pain, or hyperalgesia, which has been observed to be associated with endocannabinoid hypo-function (decreased function of the ECS).
  • Are accompanied by anxiety and depression
  • Have been labeled as psychosomatic
  • They coexist in the majority of cases, which suggests the same cause

Recently, it was discovered that people who suffer from fibromyalgia have a distinct deficiency of the endocannabinoid anandamide, which our body is supposed to produce naturally. Anandamide generates feelings of well-being and, in high amounts, can cause euphoria. However, if its concentration is too low, it has shown to have incredibly negative effects physically and emotionally.

When looking further into the issue, other illnesses were associated with this deficiency, which was officially named “clinical endocannabinoid deficiency syndrome,” or CECD. And the main conditions it has been related to often overlap, supporting the theory that it is the possible cause.

Endocannabinoid Deficiency Fibromyalgia: Is CBD the Answer?

If anandamide deficiency proves to be the cause of some or all cases of fibromyalgia, there is a lot of hope for a successful treatment to be developed and standardized in the near future.

CBD is a phytocannabinoid, a cannabinoid that is produced in plants, which stimulates CB2 receptors, the same type of receptors that react to anandamide and cause feelings of wellness and pain relief. Theoretically speaking, CBD should be able to replace anandamide in people who have low concentrations of it, until eventually the body is able to regulate its production.

Interestingly, in a specific study, CBD showed an improvement in fibromyalgia symptoms that highly surpassed those of the usual medications prescribed for this condition (like duloxetine and milnacipran).  

In fibromyalgia and other CECD related conditions, cannabinoid treatment, mainly CBD treatment, has shown improved sleep, pain relief, and other benefits that support the influence of the deficiency in the symptoms.

In a few trials, THC was studied as a possible treatment, but the results were not as significant as the ones showed for CBD and whole plant cannabis, which showed decreased pain and stiffness almost immediately, as well as improvement in sleep and reduced anxiety.

The use of cannabis-based epilepsy medication, Sativex also proved to be highly effective for pain, which proves that CBD oil for fibromyalgia is the best option.

What is the cause of endocannabinoid deficiency fibromyalgia?

Humans have an optimal level of endocannabinoids (anandamide and 2-AG) in the body, which interact with endocannabinoid receptors. When endocannabinoid function is lower than normal,a series of conditions will necessarily follow, such as:

  • Digestive issues
  • Mood alterations
  • Sleep alterations
  • General well-being will be disrupted

It is still unknown why these lower endocannabinoid levels occur, but the CED theory suggests that the cause could be genetic or congenital, or might even be acquired after a significant injury or illness that alters the balance of the endocannabinoid production.

Other illnesses that have been linked to CECD

The ones mentioned above are not the only conditions that seem to be linked to clinical endocannabinoid deficiency. Others that are being evaluated for their possible relation to CECD are:

  • Neonatal failure to thrive
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Phantom limb pain
  • Infantile colic
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Repetitive, unexplained miscarriages
  • PTSD
  • Bipolar disorder

These are just a few, though there are many others that could be part of this list.

Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency is new, but very important discovery being studied currently that could help us understand different conditions that have mostly been a complete mystery to us.

It seems almost obvious when you think about illnesses being caused by the body being unbalanced. A lot of people have spoken about CBD oil and fibromyalgia. However, we are so used to having external causes to our ailments, that we have failed to see what was right under our noses.

Our bodies have lost balance, so we need to return it to them in order to be healthier and feel better. Hopefully CBD treatments are standardized and recognized as valid methods of improving the quality of life of those who suffer from fibromyalgia and have seen their lives altered by it.

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CBD for PMS: How it can make those days suck less…

About once a month, most menstruating people go through that dreaded time in their cycle when everything sucks… Our bodies feel ugh, everything hurts, the mirror doesn’t work well, everyone gets a little extra annoying, and sugar seems to be everywhere.

Yes, PMS. It changes our routine, mood and even health; we don’t know what to do with ourselves for a few days, and then the cycle starts all over again…

Is CBD the answer to getting through it in better shape?

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What is PMS?

Premenstrual Syndrome, or PMS, is a series of symptoms that can be experienced during the days leading up to the beginning of the next cycle, or period. These symptoms are caused by hormonal fluctuations during the premenstrual phase, which occurs differently in each body, and even varies from cycle to cycle.

Can CBD be useful for Alleviating PMS Symptoms?

Have you ever wondered how to get rid of period cramps? Or, better yet, how to decrease PMS symptoms in general? Yes, I think most of us have…

Like Queen Victoria’s physician said back in the day, “for the relief of certain kinds of pain, I believe, there is no more useful medicine than Cannabis within our reach.”

Queen Victoria herself used it monthly for years for her premenstrual symptoms. However, at the time, its medicinal compounds, such as CBD, had not yet been isolated or identified.

What are some of these symptoms, and how can CBD help manage them?

There are several symptoms associated with PMS; they can cause mild to severe discomfort and some people experience more uncommon symptoms than others, but some of the most usual ones are:

Cramps and Nausea

CBD is widely known for its nausea and pain relieving properties. Cramps can be mild or intense to the extent of interfering with daily life, at which point they can cause severe nausea and vomiting that alter daily life significantly.

Joint or Muscle Pain

CBD has strong pain relieving and anti inflammatory properties that work particularly well for joints and muscles. And, curiously, during the days leading up to the beginning of the cycle, muscles and joints recover more slowly, so post workout pain lasts longer, and joints swell and hurt more than usual.

Anxiety, Irritability and Mood swings

CBD has a calming, mood-lifting effect that leaves us feeling relaxed, energized and less altered. Female hormones affect the whole body, including the brain; they mess with emotions and often make us more sensitive, nervous, insecure and incredibly anxious. If you’re ever feeling anxious for no apparent reason, take a look at the calendar; it’s possible that hormones are involved.

Fatigue

When taken during the day, CBD has been shown to energize both emotionally and physically, producing pleasant feelings of well-being. Sometimes, during the days leading up to the period, and during the period, it is common to feel drained of energy. This is partly due to not sleeping well, which CBD helps with, and partly due to lower hemoglobin levels that significantly affect some of us.

Bloating

CBD supplements are highly anti inflammatory and help the body flush out excess water more efficiently (though it’s not a diuretic). The general bloating and increase in weight that is experienced during this time is caused by swelling and extra water retention due to hormonal fluctuation, since estrogen and progesterone alter the body’s fluid regulating mechanisms.

Insomnia

Though CBD does not have sedative properties like THC does, if taken regularly during the day CBD leaves the mind ready and relaxed enough for a deep sleep at night, which is helpful since pain, discomfort and anxiety during the premenstrual days can cause sleeplessness and interrupted sleep, which makes the following day even more difficult to deal with.

Difficulty Concentrating

As CBD allows you to get a better rest, reduces inflammation and lifts the mood, it significantly reduces the “fuzzy brain” symptom we experience so often. This is due to the fact that it’s generally believed that lack of concentration isn’t directly caused by hormonal fluctuation; it is more likely a side effect of the other symptoms like insomnia, discomfort, anxiety and fatigue.

And what about more uncommon symptoms?

There are other, less usual symptoms that aren’t experienced that often, or that haven’t been looked into for very long. This is how CBD can help you overcome some of them:

Weakened Immune System

CBD stimulates the endocannabinoid system and, consequently, causes it to regulate the immune system and strengthen it.

Some people have a higher chance of getting colds or more serious infections right before their period begins, though there are some who experience this during ovulation. It isn’t completely clear why it happens, but we now know that fluctuations in progesterone and estrogen levels affect the immune system, causing our bodies to be more sensitive to virus and bacteria. CBD has been shown to lessen the probability of acquiring an infection.

“Period Flu”

Producing a general feeling of well-being, CBD reduces or eliminates the strange aches and flu-like symptoms that some people experience during PMS and the first days of the cycle. Doctors believe this phenomenon may be caused by lower estrogen levels, and by prostaglandins hormones that are released by the body in order to aid in the shedding of the uterine lining, which can produce uncomfortable feelings of sickness, without the person being actually sick.

Itchiness and Extra Sensitive Skin

CBD creams and topicals help alleviate irritation and inflammation when the skin is particularly sensitive due to hormonal imbalance or other reasons. In this case, alterations in the blood flow caused by the release of different hormones, can sometimes affect skin sensitivity and cause you to feel itchy for no reason, and extra sensitive to touch and textures.

Gum Swelling and Sensitivity

CBD reduces or eliminates the swelling that sometimes occurs in the mouth during the end of the cycle. During these days, there is increased blood flow to the mouth, which in some people causes gums to feel more sensitive and plaque to form more easily.   

Shortness of breath

CBD helps reduce inflammation in the airways, which is why scientists have developed a CBD inhaler for severe asthma. It is unclear why this happens, but some people experience shortness of breath right before their period is due. It might manifest during low impact activities or during routine workout sessions.

PMDD

3 to 8% of people who experience PMS, bare such extreme symptoms that it gets a new name: Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, or PMDD. It affects every aspect of life, and debilitates the sufferer to the point of altering mental health significantly.

The symptoms are similar, but a lot more severe than those of PMS. And the American Psychiatric Association has even determined guidelines for the diagnosis of this condition, since it affects daily life so severely, and is likely to last up until menopause.

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Generally, in order to become more functional, those who suffer from this condition need treatment, which can consist of lifestyle changes or even medication. For the treatment of PMDD, doctors commonly prescribe antidepressants, oral contraceptives, or other medications, which can cause uncomfortable side effects, and even health issues.

On the other hand, CBD is a more natural and effective option to help treat this debilitating condition, since it causes virtually no side effects, doesn’t overcharge the liver or kidneys, and doesn’t cause dependence, even if it’s taken for several years. When it comes to our body, the best option is always the most natural one.

How it helps…

CBD helps tackle the symptoms and the cause itself. Since it has anti inflammatory properties and helps relieve pain and nausea, it’s often recommended for PMS, which can manifest as generalized pain, strong nausea or vomiting, and swelling of the stomach, face and body. This is why high CBD supplements are the most ideal for these particular issues.

CBD is helpful for alleviating hormonal imbalances during the menstrual cycle. The reason for this is that the body’s production of progesterone and estrogen is affected by the endocannabinoid system, which is closely related to the endocrine system.

The endocannabinoid system could be referred to as the anti inflammatory system, and inflammation can become worse with hormonal fluctuation and emotional distress. The stress caused by PMS knocks you off balance and the ECS helps you recover that balance, and helps stabilize the endocrine system, which is in charge of the pituitary gland, which in turn produces sex hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle and determine its different symptoms.

CBD stimulates the endocannabinoid system so it can help balance the endocrine system and, consequently, the production of hormones. It is the ideal component for the treatment of both physical and emotional symptoms, since it is completely natural and doesn’t produce unhealthy side effects.

Some people have found that taking regular doses of CBD supplements during the days leading up to their period, causes them to feel less anxious, moody, stressed and generally more comfortable and energetic. Not to mention that it helps them sleep a lot better at night.

What about THC?

Unlike CBD, THC is not recommended if you suffer from strong PMS or PMDD symptoms, since it can make you more anxious, depressed, and even paranoid. So far, it has been observed that THC doesn’t interact very positively with hormonal fluctuations, and it’s better to avoid it during the days leading up to the beginning of the cycle (unless a doctor evaluates your particular situation and determines its usefulness), until we have a better understanding of how it affects us.

Is CBD for PMS the solution?

After reviewing the different symptoms that we usually have to ride out, and the way in which CBD can help alleviate them, hopefully a new option for treatment has opened up for you, but it is in no way a “cure” or the only option. A few life changes, like eating less sugar, cutting down on salt and fat, exercising regularly and drinking less alcohol, are sure to add to the improvement as well.

So, the next time you’re curled up in bed, not knowing what to do about the pain and anxiety, consider what you just read and try CBD out! Who knows? It could work wonders for you…

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Is CBD Finally Getting the Attention it Deserves?

Last week, a chain pharmacy most of us are very familiar with, CVS, introduced hemp derived CBD products to their inventory in 800 different shops, in 8 States around the US!

This is big news, as it means CBD’s benefits are being more recognized in our society and the preconceptions we have about hemp and cannabis are finally shifting.

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Which States?

The States where topical CBD products are being sold in CVS stores are:

Colorado

Alabama

California

Illinois

Indiana

Kentucky

Maryland

Tennessee

Why only topical CBD products?

The pharmacy chain’s spokes person has specified that, for now, it will only be selling topical products, like:

Creams
Sprays

Roll-ons
Lotions

Salves
Patches

They made the decision not to delve into any edible products or food additives, like oils or capsules. And they have said that they are being very careful about the beneficial effects listed for each product, since they don’t want to promote it as a “miracle cure”, but they do accept some of the benefits it has.

They have assured the public that the CBD products they’re selling are manufactured by trusted companies that comply with all applicable laws and regulations.

They decided to introduce these products because of their customers, who have expressed, on multiple occasions, the benefits they have found in the use of CBD for different ailments, particularly for pain.

This is amazing news for those of us who advocate natural health alternatives like CBD and Hemp. It means health professionals, and people in general, will be more aware of the benefits and safety of this component and will hopefully contribute to it becoming a commonly used medicinal supplement. Hooray for CBD!

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A Walk through the History of Chronic Pain Management

Pain and pain management have always been a part of humanity. Pain is a primal constituent of the experience of being alive. And the feeling of pain as a result of disease has been crucial to shape how we understand the universe both in and outside our bodies.

Figuring out the causes of pain, the source of the sensation and the remedies to alleviate its burden on the body and the soul has been a constant journey — one going from divine punishment and religious beliefs to the depths of human anatomy and scientific proof.

Let’s take a look at how we have dealt with chronic pain throughout history. The quest will take us to review important pain theories, dig up ancient pharmacopeia, Highlight exciting scientific discoveries, and see where we are today.

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Chronic Pain Management in Ancient Times

Across ancient civilizations and primitive cultures, chronic pain meant evil spirits, malevolent demons and enraged gods taking over and punishing the body. Alleviating pain was a superhuman endeavor. Shamans, healers, priests, sorcerers, and medicine men were in charge of it. And it took place during ritual practices involving sacrifices, chants, prayers, plants, and magic.

Rattles, gongs, and other noise-making devices frightened evil spirits out of the body.Native-Americans tried to suck pain out of a pipe against a person’s skin. And in the Andes, the Incas cut holes in the head to alleviate pain. The process, which used coca leaf as an analgesic, was known as trepanation.

Sure, you had other options too: rubbing the affected area, applying cold water, draining fluids and, mostly, herbal potions were the norm. Many cultures have known for millennia about natural analgesic remedies derived from plants. And among them, the four most important ones were:

Mandrake (Mandragora officinarum)

The root of mandrake was “probably the most widely used analgesic of antiquity. The Babylonians used it more than 4000 years ago for pain relief”. And its fruits rested on Tutankhamen’s tomb in Ancient Egypt. In addition to its analgesic properties, its soporific effect to induces sleep. But its excessive intake could be fatal.

Opium poppy (Papaver somniferum)

The Sumerians in Mesopotamia cultivated the poppy plant around 3400 BC. The Sumerian clay tablet one of the oldest lists of medical prescriptions, mentions opium among 250 various plants. It use was medicinal. But known as Hul Gil, meaning the joy plant, its use as recreational narcotic is also documented.

Opium was also well known in ancient Egypt. The Eber papyrus, “which contained medical prescriptions and charms” referring up to 700 plant species and drugs for therapy, also recommended preparations including opium. Even the goddess Isis prescribed it for King Ra to ease his severe headaches.

Hemp (Cannabis sativa)

Even though Egyptians and Assyrians knew about the benefits of hemp, the epicenter for its use as a medicine has to be sought for in China. The Pen-Tsao-ching, considered one of the earliest pharmacopeia of herbal medicine, mentions cannabis as being “useful in the treatment of over 100 ailments, including rheumatic pain, gout, and malaria”.

In India, the plant was considered one of the five sacred plants of Hinduism. It was a daily companion in devotional services. And its extensive religious use opened the door to explore its medicinal applications. Among them, cannabis was used “as an analgesic, anticonvulsant, anesthetic, antibiotic and anti-inflammatory.” All qualities were valuable to treat diseases like epilepsy, rabies, and anxiety.

Henbane (Hyoscyamus niger)

It was one of the most important plants in the early history of anesthesia. Henbane was also referenced in Babylonian clay tablets as a remedy for dental pain. Its high toxicity and potent hallucinogenic effects made it a dangerous medication. But despite its deathly consequences, it was frequently used as a sedative and anesthetic.

Hippocrates and a new approach for pain management

In Ancient Greece, physicians, philosophers, and writers alike were concerned about the matter of pain and its mechanisms. But the works of Hippocrates, the most prominent figure amongst Greek physicians, and considered the father of medicine, were perhaps the most significant turning point in our approach and understanding of pain in ancient times.

Beliefs of pain and disease being caused by divine punishment and offended deities still prove popular. But Hippocrates took the first steps towards moving away from superstition and supernatural phenomena. His approach? He focused his work on observation and the search for physical causes of pain.

As part of it, he developed the theory of the four humors–– blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile––.

And he described their effects on the human body and its emotions. For him, pain was produced by the excess or deficiency in one of those fluids. And his mission, along with the rest of Hippocratic physicians, was to rebalance that equilibrium and return it back to health.

To do it, he proposed a holistic approach. In it, he combined the use of animal, plant, and mineral based medicines with baths, diets, and exercise. Four centuries later, around the year 65 BC, Dioscorides, a Greek physician and pharmacologist, wrote De Materia Medica. The work, a go-to manual for 1500 years, listed 600 natural substances. And among them, said to alleviate different pains, were poppy, mandrake, and henbane.

Renaissance and the anatomy of pain

The Middles Ages were stagnant when it comes to chronic pain treatment. For the most part, theories by Hippocrates and Galen remained valid, and herb remedies thrived on monastery gardens. Physicians-monks, experts on the preparation of drugs, grew a myriad of plants. And they used them for healing purposes following Greek and Arab medical guidelines.

Research was limited due to the ban on the dissection of human bodies, and supernatural ideas were once again prevalent. Illness and pain were attributed to sins, demons, witchcraft, and astrology. But the variety of natural remedies instead of ritual practices was remarkable.

Now, on the other hand, the Renaissance was a fertile time for chronic pain management development. Exploration inside the human body sparked significant advancements in anatomy and physiology. And the scientific method gave way to a more accurate understanding of the causes of pain.

Laudanum, an opium-based tincture, was famous across Europe as an effective painkiller. Paracelsus, a Swiss physician, and alchemist credited to introduce the drug called it “the immortality stone.” And he carried it with him all the time.

Chronic Pain Management in Modern Times

The four centuries from 1600 to 1900 marked the emergence of a predominant opium approach to alleviate chronic pain. In the 17th century, “many Europeans doctors gave their patients opium to relieve pain.” But it was in the 19th century when the most significant turning point came with the discovery of morphine.

Obtained by the German pharmacist Friedrich Sertürner, morphine popularity grew fast. But so did the concerns and fears about abuse and addiction when prescribed by doctors.

From then on, medical researchers and pharmaceutical companies have developed opioid analgesic alternatives. These efforts gave way to a broad spectrum of known opioid substances. Hydrocodone, tramadol, oxycodone, codeine, fentanyl, and methadone supported pain treatment, combined with anti-inflammatory agents like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin.

Today, in the wake of the opioid crisis, there is a growing trend towards non-opioid analgesic strategies. Non-opioid pharmacotherapy includes anti-inflammatories, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants. But is the multidisciplinary approach for treating pain that it’s making big waves.

This approach is based on lifestyle changes and low-tech alternatives. They look more like what a doctor would suggest in classical times. And maybe not what you would expect in these days led by the pharmaceutical industry. Actually, the key areas go back in time and seem to circle around to the basics of chronic pain treatment:

Physical therapy. The techniques used are timeless. Think about stretching exercises, hot or cold applications, and massage. And add transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). It sounds sophisticated. But the truth is that the principle existed in Ancient Egypt, where they gave electric shocks to the sufferers using eels and torpedo fish.

Complementary and alternative medicine. The rebirth of these techniques has been increasingly attracting patients. On the one hand, you have promising advancements on the new plant-based natural remedies such as hemp CBD oil. And on the other you have millennial practices making a big comeback.

Look Back and Look Forward when finding the right treatment

We are talking about acupuncture, yoga, and meditation. Used in traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture it’s been a part of pain treatment for over 2000 years. And it has been proven helpful in the treatment of conditions like osteoarthritis, chronic pelvic pain, fibromyalgia, and chronic lower back pain.

Finally, the important thing to know today is that you have options. But don’t rely on the idea that the latest scientific and technological advancement is the way to go. Sometimes you want to look back in time. Who knows. Maybe history is where you can find the remedy you have been looking for all your life.

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More than genes: 5 Triggers for Migraines and how Cannabis can Help

These are testimonies that women who suffer from migraines share with the American Migraine Foundation. But you might ask, “Why only share the words of women who suffer from migraines?” Well, because this is a condition that affects mostly women. According to recent statistics by the American Migraine Foundation, one in every five women suffers from migraines.

It is the third most prevalent illness in the world and the 6th most disabling illness in the world, according to Migraine Research Foundation. However, migraines don’t discriminate by age, gender or race. It affects one in every sixteen men and one in every eleven children in the world. In a more general view, more than 39 million Americans suffer from migraine.

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Although there is no cure, the medical community are prescribing more and more opioids to control the severe pain that comes with migraines. And we all know how addictive and dangerous these drugs can be. We are going to tell you 5 things that can trigger migraines and how cannabis can be an alternative treatment.

What is migraine?

As you will see throughout this post, migraines are more than just a headache. Although migraines begin with a headache, the pain sometimes is so severe it can trigger other symptoms. The attacks can last from 4 to 72 hours. This is why the medical community has agreed to define migraines as a “neurological disease with extremely incapacitating neurological symptoms”.

The most common symptoms can be:

  • Visual disturbances
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Extreme sensitivity to sound, light, touch and smell
  • Tingling or numbness in the extremities or face

Even though there are several types of migraines, the most common two can be defined by a visual phenomenon: aura.

Migraine without aura

This is the most common type of migraine. It represents between 70% and 90% of all cases. The headache is usually on one side of the head, and it is a throbbing and/or pulsating pain. This pain can be so severe that it can affect your daily life, and even produce some of the symptoms we described above. It can produce vomit and diarrhea. Also, people with migraine without aura experience light and sound sensitivity (photophobia and phonophobia).

Migraine with aura

This type of migraine comes with a neurological symptom expressed as a visual disturbance, or aura. Patients will start to experience blind and/or coloured spots. Also, sparkles or stars and flashing lights before the eyes. Sometimes, even temporary blindness. Symptoms are different from migraine without aura:

  • Numbness or tingling
  • Weakness on one side of the body
  • Dizziness
  • Vertigo

Additionally, there are other symptoms but not as common as the above. Some patients have reported speech and hearing impairments or even partial paralysis and fainting. All of these symptoms are experienced before the headache, or, in some cases, a headache may not even be present.

The most common belief about what causes migraines is a genetic condition. This is true, but not entirely. As we explained before, migraines affect women in a larger scale than men. It is more likely for women to experience migraines than men. But migraines can be caused by a number of physiological and environmental conditions.

5 things that can cause migraines

Food

 

Yes. We know that everytime you read something it tells you what you can or can’t eat. If you don’t suffer from migraines, it is very likely that you won’t start suffering from them if you eat these foods. However, if you are more susceptible to strong headaches, it is better to avoid this.

Aged cheeses, like blue cheese, are considered to induce migraines. It is better to avoid other types of cheese like cheddar and camembert. Also, salty and processed food can also trigger them. Try to avoid cured meat, yeast extracts and smoked fish like salmon. All of these type of foods contain a substance called tyramine. This is a chemical substance found naturally in some foods.

Another important thing to have in mind is eating on schedule. Altering with your regular meal time can trigger attacks.

Alcohol and… ¿coffee?

Beer and wine can be triggers. Beer, for example, has a lot of tyramine. However, bottled beer tends to have 25 times less tyramine than beer from a beer tap. So if you love beer and don’t want to miss it, when you go to the bar order in bottle. There is also a belief that red wine can also induce migraine attacks. But there is not scientific proof of it. When it comes to alcohol, it is better to keep it to a minimum. Although there is no study to prove it, large amounts of alcohol will definitely give you a headache. And if you suffer from migraines, the result in the morning after a night out can be devastating.

And when it comes to coffee, there is much debate. Some say that coffee triggers a migraine attack, while others say that caffeine can help in head pain relief. The truth is… you are the only one who knows. If you are a regular coffee drinker, skipping your morning cup can induce headaches, and consequently escalate to a migraine attack. But too much caffeine can clearly produce headaches. It’s up to you to keep your coffee intake in a moderate level.

Hormonal Changes

Women are more likely to have migraine attacks during menstruation. This is due to hormonal changes. Women who have a history of migraine attacks tend to experience them before or during their periods, when there is a radical hormonal change. Because of this, other women can also experience severe headaches during pregnancy or menopause.

Medication or treatments that induce change in hormone levels can also trigger migraines. Women who take birth control pills or hormonal therapy might have an increase in their headaches. So if you suffer from migraines, it would be better to talk to your doctor for a different treatment to avoid an increase in headaches. Yoga and meditation help you sleep better, and also will be a great thing for migraines because a change in your sleep pattern might also trigger attacks.

Emotional triggers

Throughout this blog we have explained how important it is to keep your body and mind in a healthy state. A clear mind can be the greatest treatment and it can prevent a lot of illnesses people suffer from everyday. And migraines are no exception. Stress migraines, although it’s not a recognized by the International Headache Society, is one of the most common types.

Stress and anxiety can trigger migraines because of chemical reactions in your brain. When you are stress or suffering from anxiety, you can experience a “fight or flight” response. This might create tension and fear which make migraines even worse. If you suffer from migraines, try anti-stress activities like yoga or meditation.

Environmental triggers

There are some environmental and physical conditions that can induce migraines. It appears that people who suffer from this condition have very sensible senses. We explained before that one of the symptoms can be sensitivity to light and sound (photophobia and phonophobia). If you suffer from migraines, exposure to very bright lights, or extreme changes in light intensity can trigger a headache. It works the same way with loud, sudden noises and strong smells.

Could cannabis be a treatment for migraines?

Migraines affect your day to day life. The testimonies at the beginning of this post portray how severe this condition can be. And because the normal prescription for migraines are opioids, people have decided to cast them away and look towards cannabis. Because of its analgesic properties, cannabis is becoming very popular to treat the severe pain that comes with migraines. But, as it happens with cannabis, there is more anecdotal than scientific evidence to support this. But this is the starting point.

According to cannabis expert Ethan Russo, the increase of cannabis as a migraine treatment is something that the medical community should investigate in a much deeper level: “collective evidence supports the proposition that experimental protocols of cannabis usage in migraine treatment should go forward employing modern controlled clinical trials”.

Last year, a study titled The Use of Cannabis for Headache Disorders reviewed the evidence of cannabis as a treatment for headache disorders, migraines included. Researchers arrived at the same conclusion as Russo: there is sufficient anecdotal evidence and preliminary results, but clinical trials are needed to see how far cannabinoids can go as a treatment for migraines. “Such trials are needed to determine short- and long-term efficacy for specific headache types, compatibility with existing treatments, optimal administration practices, as well as potential risks”.

But this can take a while. In the meantime, try following the 5 tips we gave you above. Avoid food with high levels of tyramine, such as blue cheese and some types of beer. Avoid strong light, smells and sounds. And, most importantly, start doing anti-stress activities such as yoga or meditation.

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Painkillers vs CBD. What is the best alternative for pain relief?

Pain is something most people deal with from time to time. But if chronic pain keeps you from living a healthy, happy life, you’ll want to get relief.

While it’s easy to swallow a pill to get pain relief, it may not be the best option for long-term use. Read on to learn how pain killer drugs work and why many people are turning to CBD oil for pain.

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Types of Painkiller Drugs

Painkillers, also called analgesics, are classified into several different categories. There are two main types of painkiller drugs you can buy without a doctor’s prescription. These include acetaminophen, commonly known as Tylenol, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin) and naproxen sodium (Aleve) are examples of NSAIDs.

Opioids are much stronger pain relievers that your doctor must prescribe for you. You’ll pick up the medicine at a pharmacy and will need to have it refilled by the pharmacist when you run out. Common opioid medications include hydrocodone, hydromorphone, morphine, oxycodone and methadone. Brand names include Vicodin, Percocet, OxyContin, Dilaudid, and others.

How do Painkiller Drugs Work?

Pain relievers work with your body’s nervous system to stop your brain from generating the feeling of pain. You have millions of nerve endings in your skin and tissues. Nerves allow your body to communicate with your brain. When you are injured, these nerves tells your brain where the pain is located in your body and what it feels like.

Painkiller drugs keep the nerves from telling your brain about the pain. Opioids and non-prescription drugs work similarly, but opioids also trigger the pleasure centers of your brain. That’s why these drugs are only used to treat severe pain.

Long-Term Side Effects

While painkiller drugs are an effective way to stop pain, they do come with side effects. For example, NSAIDs can be extremely hard on your stomach and kidneys. Some also cause heart damage. Prolonged use of these drugs can lead to ulcers, bleeding in your gut, or kidney failure.  Tylenol can cause liver damage, especially when taken in high doses or mixed with alcohol.

Opioids are also quite dangerous to take for chronic pain relief. At low doses, opioids can make you feel sleepy or dizzy. At higher doses, they can slow your heart rate and breathing rate, leading to death. Since these drugs not only kill pain but also boost feelings of pleasure, many people become addicted to them. When people are addicted, they take the drug in higher doses, often leading to overdose and death. In 2017, 72,000 people in the United States died from drug overdose.

CBD Oil for Pain Relief

To avoid the dangerous side effects that come with traditional painkillers, many people are using CBD oil for pain management. Extracted from marijuana or hemp plants, the oil contains only trace amounts of THC, the component that makes people feel “high.” Additionally, non-toxic CBD oil does not affect the same brain receptors as THC.

Your body regulates a variety of bodily functions including:

  • Appetite
  • Sleep
  • Pain and Immune system response

Taking CBD oil helps your body regulate these functions naturally.  Pure CBD oil helps reduce pain, inflammation and anxiety, while improving sleep and appetite.

In fact, multiple studies have confirmed the effects of cannabis-based medicine for pain relief. A NCBI study at the Royal Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases in the United Kingdom found “a significant analgesic effect was observed and disease activity was significantly suppressed following…treatment.” The study used a cannabis-based medication to treat patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Another study of patients with migraine headaches points to the active ingredients in CBD oil as a way to treat these debilitating headaches.

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CBD Side Effects

Along with treating pain naturally, CBD oil doesn’t come with any of the side effects of prescription or over-the-counter painkillers. Unlike NSAIDS and acetaminophen, CBD oil will not damage your other systems. And, unlike opioids, there’s no chance of becoming addicted. So if you’re looking for a safe, effective way to relieve pain, CBD is a good option.

You don’t need a prescription to buy pure CBD oil, and it’s easy to buy hemp-based CBD online, regardless of where you live. Visit our website to learn more about the benefits of pure organic hemp oil and browse our catalog of products to find the best CBD oil for pain.

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6 Things you should know before giving cannabis to your pet

Have you ever wondered what you can give to your dog or cat for pain? Planning on giving medicinal marijuana to your pet?

There are a few things you need to take into account before you do, such as the right cannabinoid and dosage. Here, we break it down for you.

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Here’s something you probably didn’t know about cannabis: all vertebrate animals naturally produce their own cannabinoids.

Now, don’t get scared. It’s not like your dog is going to get high out of the blue. Most animals, naturally produce molecules (2-AG and Anandamide) that resemble the effect of THC, but in a very small proportion. But that’s a story for another time. The point is, all of this is possible because of something called the Endocannabinoid System.

It should be kept in mind that, although cannabis therapy is believed by many in the scientific community to have significant value, studies are still in the initial stage and have not provided definitive answers.

Cats, dogs, horses, humans, and every other pet you can imagine (except insects, if they are even considered pets), have something called Endocannabinoid System (ECS), which controls key aspects in the biology of all vertebrate species.

What is the Endocannabinoid System?

Everything needs to be in balance. For cells to work and function in an optimal way, the body has to maintain perfect internal conditions. This is called homeostasis. The word comes from ancient greek, and it combines two concepts that mean “staying the same”. Homeostasis is “any self-regulating process by which biological systems tend to maintain stability while adjusting to conditions that are optimal for survival”. And ECS is a biological system present in every vertebrate animal that plays an important role in homeostasis.

Consequently, the ECS and endocannabinoids help regulate appetite, pain, inflammation, thermoregulation, sensation, muscle control, energy balance, sleep, stress, mood, memory, among others.

This happens because the body has special receptors that interact with endocannabinoids, working like key and lock.

CB1 and CB2 receptors

Even though there are a lot of endocannabinoid receptors, there are two that remain the most important: CB1 and CB2. These receptors are locked and need a specific key to set ECS into motion. Those keys are endocannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, among others. Even though CB1 and CB2 receptors are present in most parts of the body, each one is more present in some more than others.

CB1 is one of the most abundant receptors in the brain and nervous system. This particular receptor is the one to blame for the “high” effect of cannabis. When THC flows into your body, it works as a key to unlock the CB1 receptor, triggering the psychoactive effect of this particular cannabinoid. However, CB1 also liberates the THC medical benefits, such as pain relief.

On the other hand, CB2 is found mainly in the immune system. And this particular receptor is the one that is compatible with CBD, the cannabinoid that doesn’t have the psychoactive effect of cannabis. When CBD unlocks CB2 receptor, it produces medical responses related to appetite and pain. The connections between CB2 receptor and CBD are widely used to treat animal illnesses. If you have pets at home, you should continue reading.

Medical benefits of CBD in pets

When THC was first synthesized in the early 60s by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, it set in motion a wave of scientific studies to discover and find more evidence to prove the medical benefits of cannabinoids in humans. However, reports and studies in animals, specifically pets (such as dogs and cats), have become a more interesting subject in recent years.

Early studies were conducted in small rodents, mostly mice. As a result, scientists found that cannabinoids are beneficial for several disorders such as pain, cardiovascular disorders, asthma, diabetes and vomiting, among others.

But when it comes to medicinal marijuana, dogs are not like mice, or even like humans. These furry companions react very differently when exposed to THC. According to Dr. Robert J. Silver, author of the book Medical Marihuana & Your Pet: The Definite Guide, a dog’s metabolism reacts very differently to THC: “Of all species in the world, dogs have a much higher density of THC receptors, which makes them very sensitive to its adverse effects”.

Hemp, the perfect variety for pets

On the contrary, Dr. Silver explains that CBD doesn’t have the adverse effects in dogs and cats that THC does. In conclusion, he recommends hemp as the ideal plant for treating pets, mostly because it has low levels of THC and a high presence of CBD.

Hemp, and therefore CBD, can be used to treat the same conditions in pets and in humans.This conditions may include anxiety, stress, arthritis and seizures. However, it works best and in a more effective way in anxiety, noise phobia and lack of appetite. It’s a funny thing that the most common side effect is an increased appetite.

Yes, dogs also get the munchies.

But experts always warn that there is something that you have to be very careful about when treating your pet with medicinal cannabis. If you really want to see the the benefits of CBD and not hurt you pet in the process, always keep the dosage in mind.

Dosage: not the same in humans and pets

First of all, when it comes to dosage, you can’t consider your dog or cat  a “small human” and just adjust it to the weight.

In states where recreational marijuana is legal, a lot of cases have been reported were pets accidentally eat their owner’s edibles. This is extremely dangerous because of the low tolerance dogs have of THC. Also, dogs don’t process chocolate very well, so a chocolate based edible is considered potentially lethal.

Specifically, the THC receptors in dogs are located in a part of the brain called cerebellum. This area is in charge of balance and equilibrium. And, as you read above, these THC receptors are abundant in dogs. So when your curious and faithful friend ingests a high amount of this cannabinoid, it will start to lose its balance and fall uncontrollably. This is called, as said by Dr. Silver, “Static Ataxia”.

However, Dr. Silver recommends that a very, very small dose of THC can be a good place to start: 0.05 milligrams per pound of your pet’s body weight. But you have to be careful and be alert to see the side effects. If after two hours your dog starts acting dizzy, its eyes get red and loses its balance, the dose is too high. If these symptoms don’t show, then you’re good to go.

In hemp derivatives, high in CBD, the correct dose Dr. Silver recommends is 0.05mg/pound twice a day. It’s better to start with a small dose and then start increasing it over the weeks.

CBD for Pets: The right dossage

As you can see, cannabinoids can have medicinal uses for pets as well as humans. CB1 and CB2 receptors, when unlocked by THC or CBD, trigger a series of responses in the body only possible because of the ECS, present in all vertebrates. Although THC can be extremely lethal to your dog, CBD has a lot of medical benefits and almost no side effects (other than the munchies). But, if you are considering CBD as a treatment for your pet, you have to be very careful with dosage. Consult your vet, and start with small proportions and increase gradually.

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